Humiliation for Putin as Russian intelligence officer conclusively linked to Salisbury and Amesbury poisonings

Does anybody doubt that the man Vladimir Putin claimed was tourist “Ruslan Boshirov” is actually Russian intelligence colonel Anatoliy Chepiga? The evidence seems conclusive to me!

But it raises question after question about both the poisonings of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley, and the UK government’s investigations into those poisonings.

If assassins were sent to the UK to poison the Skripals, why did they fail to kill their victims? I know some people have claimed that this was a ‘signature’ attack – intended to show other traitors to Russia that they can be found and harmed by the Russian government at any time, but I’m not buying it – simply because of the substance that was used. We have been told – repeatedly – that Novichok is highly toxic. But the substance used on the Skripals, and ingested by the policeman who tried to help them – was not fatal.

If the intention was to send a ‘signature’ message to Russian traitors, why were two British people also poisoned – one of them fatally? Professional assassins (or whatever you want to call them) would not have left their tools lying around, but would have disposed of them in order to leave no evidence behind. The lack of care suggested by this would indicate that it was not a professional job.

Why was a highly-decorated colonel sent to the UK to do an operation like this? Usually, a field operative with a rank no higher than captain would have carried out such work. Even Bellingcat admitted that this was unusual, quoting a source who said it indicated that the operation had been ordered at the highest level (meaning, one concludes, by Mr Putin). But then we come back to the issue of the substance used and the fact that the wrong person was killed. It doesn’t make sense.

Why did the UK government change its story so many times and why are there so many inconsistencies in it? I really want to know the answer to this. I don’t think it’s about the story altering as evidence came to light. I wonder if there is a more sinister, cynical motive behind it. Was Theresa May trying to take advantage of a tragedy to promote her own foreign policy ambitions?

Too many aspects of this case are failing to add up and it seems the result will be not only that the Russian government has set itself up as an enemy of the UK, but that the British people must now also be highly suspicious of their own government.

Here‘s the Bellingcat investigative piece on Chepiga/Boshirov:

The suspect using the cover identity of “Ruslan Boshirov” is in fact Colonel Anatoliy Chepiga, a highly decorated GRU officer bestowed with Russia’s highest state award, Hero of the Russian Federation. Following Bellingcat’s own identification, multiple sources familiar with the person and/or the investigation have confirmed the suspect’s identity.

This finding eliminates any remaining doubt that the two suspects in the Novichok poisonings were in fact Russian officers operating on a clandestine government mission.

While civilians in Russia can generally own more than one passport, no civilian – or even an intelligence service officer on a personal trip – can cross the state border under a fake identity. The discovery also highlights the extent of the effort – and public diplomacy risk – Russia has taken to protect the identities of the officers. President Putin publicly vouched that “Boshirov” and “Petrov” are civilians. As it is established practice that the awards Hero of the Russian Federation are handed out by the Russian president personally, it is highly likely that Vladimir Putin would have been familiar with the identity of Colonel Chepiga, given that only a handful of officers receive this award each year.

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  1. Bob J September 27, 2018 at 12:50 pm - Reply

    “Does anybody doubt that…Boshirov…is Chepiga?”
    Yeah – Craig Murray ( and Charles Wood ( and they provide “conclusive evidence” that the two are NOT the same person.

  2. john thatcher September 27, 2018 at 1:35 pm - Reply

    I think we need to look at the Trump Russia “dossier”put together by the mercenary ex British military intelligence officer whose name escapes me as I write.Skripal was the go between twixt “Russian Informants”ie Col Chipiga and his team,who could n’t believe their luck when their “information”caused so much mayhem in the US establishment.
    Subsequently,Skripal was then persuaded by his British and US handlers to call up his Russian “contact”to request more of this “info”.Now I am not sure how this works,it all depends on whether our gallant captain and ex intelligence officer were angry about the quality of the info coming from Russia,or indifferent to it since it worked to damage Trump.
    Anyway,they either intended to actually kill Skripal for supplying false info,and ballsed it up,or pretend to try and kill him,with his connivance, blaming the Russian team who were lured over with the request for more “information”.
    Poor Dawn Sturgess was simply a dispensable junkie,who was killed to add authenticity to the increasingly threadbare story.She was known to “dip”skips,and genuine Novichok was put where it was sure it would be found by her,perhaps with a hint from somewhere.
    In other words ,it was a sting on the Russian secret service.I am sure others can think of plausible variations on the general theme I have laid out.

  3. Tom Mapfumo September 27, 2018 at 2:36 pm - Reply

    NOT a good article at all! Please read the enclosed from a respected Socialist source:

  4. rotzeichen September 27, 2018 at 2:37 pm - Reply

    They mention remaining doubts, there must be a substantial amount of sceptics in the country then for them to admit that.

    I for one don’t buy their stories.

  5. john thatcher September 27, 2018 at 2:39 pm - Reply

    Oh dear,where did my comment go?

    • Mike Sivier September 27, 2018 at 7:43 pm - Reply

      No idea. It’s probably just waiting for me to moderate it – and since you have (rather rudely) drawn attention to your impatience for it to appear, rather than accepting that I’m busy and will get to it when I can, I may well moderate it out of existence.

      Please – and this goes for everyone – don’t waste all our time trying to push me into publishing your comments; your only achievement will be to make a nuisance of yourself. I don’t want to cause offence with my response to such behaviour, so don’t offend me.

      • john thatcher September 27, 2018 at 8:40 pm - Reply

        You arrogant sod.Bye.

        • Mike Sivier September 30, 2018 at 5:41 pm - Reply

          I always say we she judge a person by what they do. This person is a case in point. Just because I didn’t approve his comment as soon as he sent it, he demanded to know why. When I told him to stop, he insulted me. Good riddance.

      • Simon September 28, 2018 at 9:14 am - Reply

        He wasn’t being rude, but you are. I say that as someone who has contributed to your campaign to fight anti semitism accusations, and as an admirer of your site. I’m often confused as to what is happening to comments I’ve submitted, as there’s no way of knowing whether they’ve been rejected, or there’s something amiss with my server’s settings. John Thatcher merely expressed surprise at the disappearance of his submission. He wasn’t being rude. Stop being so aggressive.

        • Mike Sivier September 30, 2018 at 5:44 pm - Reply

          He does it a lot. He knows the score. I’m extremely busy and I simply don’t have the time to navigate petulant commenters’ complaints that I haven’t put their contributions onto the site quickly enough.

          Seriously, I wasn’t the one being rude.

  6. Simon September 27, 2018 at 3:22 pm - Reply

    “Does anybody doubt that the man Vladimir Putin claimed was tourist “Ruslan Boshirov” is actually Russian intelligence colonel Anatoliy Chepiga?”

    Yep, I do. The two photographs on the right are from ‘Boshirov”s passport application file. Only the photograph on the left is Chepiga. As Craig Murray points out in his current blog – well worth reading – there are noticeable discrepancies. The nose is different, as is the skull shape and the distance between the eyes: “, which runs industry standard software, gives the faces an 83% similarity, putting the probability of them being the same person at 2.8%.

    By comparison it gives me a 72% identity with Chepiga and a 2.1% chance of being him.”

    Furthermore, the methodology involved is highly suspect. Bellingcat, the investigative site behind the story, has a history under its founder Eliot Higgins, aka Brown Moses, of unearthing evidence supporting government claims which later turn out to be discredited, as when they ‘confirmed’ that Assad’s forces were responsible for the ‘chemical attack’ at Ghouta. These people did not begin with any evidence linking Chepiga to ‘Boshirov’. Rather, they searched databases of GRU operatives of roughly the same age, and then searched through annual files until they found someone who looked like ‘Boshirov’.

    I’m afraid this is far from conclusive, as you suggest, and anyone doubting these claims is certainly not being unreasonable.

  7. wildswimmerpete September 27, 2018 at 3:47 pm - Reply

    “But the substance used on the Skripals, and ingested by the policeman who tried to help them – was not fatal” it was 3-quinuclidinyl benzilate, a non-lethal incapacitating agent – aka BZ or to the Russians, Substance 78. The Swiss laboratory who tested the Skripals and the policeman confirmed it was BZ. Whoever who used BZ on the Skripals intended it to be a warning, BZ is stocked by NATO, US, UK and Russia. To recap the symptom profile: Up to 24hrs before first symptoms appear followed by a few days of unpleasant illness which can include hallucinations, finally full recovery. BZ is designed to be used for area denial and as such is highly persistent in the environment. Nerve agents like Novichok and VX are organophosphorous compounds, BZ is not an OP.

  8. terryindorset September 27, 2018 at 5:36 pm - Reply

    Novichok was never used in Salisbury. The hospital consultant is on record saying 2 people were being treated for poisoning but not by ‘nerve agent’ & Porton Down said they didn’t know what it was. A Swiss lab. said the sample it was given was BZ. It’s clear May was told by the warmongers in WashingtonDC, to pick a fight with Putin hence the pantomime was quickly put into effect. People in Amesbury use drugs & when contaminated, kills, a local friend there tells me.

    This is all a storm in a tea cup but will used by May & her cronies to order more expensive weapons & close hospitals to pay for them again, just like the warmongers in the USA have done……’s a sales drive by the killing machines.

  9. Growing Flame September 27, 2018 at 7:56 pm - Reply

    I assume that the poisoning was , in some way, connected to the Russian state. But the latest , significant, development has been the casual way that the Russian state seems to be treating it, and the almost ridiculous Press conference where little attempt was made to create a serious , “innocent” explanation. Some suggest that the Putin regime is just laughing at the UK and is simply not bothered to try to deceive.

    I think this may be true. There are two parallel universes involved and the British establishment media only portray one of them.
    In the UK Press world, this was a disgraceful event and the UK state is treating it most seriously and there will be dire consequences for this totally unacceptable behaviour. The Tory government joins in with this universe.
    But , at the same time, business continues as usual. In the universe of trade, business and money-making, large swathes of the inner London property market are being snapped-up by Russian oligarchs as a way to launder cash as well as investing in effortless speculation on property price increases. Similarly, British oligarchs, including prominent MPs have millions of pounds invested in Russian banks. This continues almost uninterrupted, no matter what the Russian state gets up to. No wonder they do not take British threats seriously! They know full-well that the establishments in both countries are not going to sabotage their own business operations by taking drastic action.

  10. Simon September 28, 2018 at 9:36 am - Reply

    This is far from conclusive. I question whether the photograph of Chepiga on the left is the same man as the two photos on the right, taken from ‘Boshirov”s passport application file. The features, including the nose and the shape of the skull, as well as the distance between the eyes, are different. Furthermore, the methodology for this ‘evidence’ was highly suspect. Craig Murray’s blog on this has some useful insights, and I recommend it.

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